Third level students turning to charities for support

The number of students seeking financial support from charities has risen, according to a recent article.

Saint Vincent de Paul has seen the number of students asking for support ‘double’ since 2009.

Jim Walsh, the SVP press officer explained that an estimated 70,000 calls will be made from the Dublin and Wicklow area alone this year.

SVP spent an estimated €4.7 million on support for secondary and third-level education last year, though the article explains that this number could be higher due the difficulty in specifying which students were in third-level.

A Bank of Ireland study in September found that while the cost of college is €13,000 a year, grants only amount to €3,025.

The Irish Universities Association noted that students’ income fell 22 per cent in the last five years, since the recession began.

However, despite the accommodation crisis that saw rent rates rise by 17 per cent this summer, SVP did not see an increase in support for rent.

SVP provide grant supports to help students cover the costs of travel, books and food through the Education and Training Bursary. The bursary does not help students in PLC and private colleges or students that have completed a masters.

SVP noted that the surge in calls for support has not been met by a responsive government. National Vice President, Tom Mac Sweeney, told Newstalk last month that government has been largely neglectful of the poor.

“We don’t think the government is quite listening to what we are saying. We know the people are because they support us in the annual appeal every year.”

SVP launched their online application service in September and were met with 8,000 new calls. Their annual appeal video was launched in the run up to Christmas as an estimated 150,000 families will be serviced this year.

Aura McMenamin


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